Missoula Veteran Dedicates Life to Vet Rights - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Missoula Veteran Dedicates Life to Vet Rights

Posted: Updated:
MISSOULA -

The Fourth of July is a holiday when we as Americans celebrate our independence and remember what it took for our country to gain the rights and freedoms we value.

Throughout July, ABC FOX MONTANA will share the stories of hometown heroes, who go above and beyond to make a difference in their communities.

Dan Gallagher left his family's farm in Charlo at the age of 18 to join the Army as a combat engineer in the Vietnam War.

It was in the highlands of Vietnam where Gallagher saw the human destruction war can cause -- scenes he said he'll never forget.

"Kids with stumps… where a foot used to be, where they'd stepped on a mine," Gallagher said.

When he returned to the U.S., Gallagher said he and his fellow servicemen were greeted only with hostility from war protesters, who called the soldiers "baby killers."

He explained, "You cannot go and commit yourself to war and to the mindset that goes with fighting a war, come back to polite society and fit in, it just… you can't do it."

Gallagher said the return to civilian life took a toll on his mental health.

"I became withdrawn into myself, there was depression, there was all the problems that go with PTSD," he said.

With the help of a friend who was a prisoner of war in World War II, Gallagher slowly opened back up to society.

"All of a sudden you're talking about things you thought only you suffered from, and you realize others have the same issues," Gallagher said.

Gallagher has since dedicated his life to helping veterans receive the support and services they need to recover after war. Today, he said veterans young and old struggle to obtain the federal benefits they're promised by the Department of Veterans' Affairs, and if they do, it can take years.

"And, I don't know if the American people are aware of that, if they are, they should be outraged," he said.

Gallagher works with American Legion Post 101 and other veterans groups to raise public awareness -- and inspire action -- to help veterans receive the support they deserve. He's also taken part in public service announcements, encouraging veterans to get the help they need if they're suffering from PTSD.

"If you can change, I guess just one life, or help one life, that's pretty damn good in it of itself," Gallagher said.

Gallagher's son, Colin, said, "A lot of people would consider it volunteer, but I think for him it's really about passion."

Gallagher's family members said his efforts become evident when community members approach Gallagher after he speaks at a Veterans' or Memorial Day event.

"More than anything, they want to tell him thank you for dealing with all the issues around it," Colin added.

Colin's younger son, Brian, said, "Walking in the mall, or downtown, people will come up and say thank you, and these are people I've never met and he may not even know."

"He just embraces the community, and he makes everyone feel welcome," said Kiley, one of Gallagher's granddaughters.

Gallagher said his work in Missoula is only a small part of what needs to be done across the country to ensure veterans receive their rights. But, he says he'll continue his efforts, no matter how small the reward.

Last year, Gallagher earned the Jeanette Rankin Peacemaker Award for his efforts to bridge the gap between veterans and peace activists in Missoula.

  • NationalMore>>

  • 9 indicted in kidnapping of NC prosecutor's father

    9 indicted in kidnapping of NC prosecutor's father

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 4:34 AM EDT2014-04-23 08:34:46 GMT
    As the kidnappers pulled into a quiet, upscale golf course community, they thought they were about to abduct an assistant district attorney who sent a high-ranking gang member to prison for life, authorities said.
    As the kidnappers pulled into a quiet, upscale golf course community, they thought they were about to abduct an assistant district attorney who sent a high-ranking gang member to prison for life, authorities said.
  • Michigan man among 1st in US to get 'bionic eye'

    Michigan man among 1st in US to get 'bionic eye'

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 3:54 AM EDT2014-04-23 07:54:12 GMT
    A degenerative eye disease slowly robbed Roger Pontz of his vision.
    A degenerative eye disease slowly robbed Roger Pontz of his vision.
  • Missouri executes inmate for 1993 farm slaying

    Missouri executes inmate for 1993 farm slaying

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 3:15 AM EDT2014-04-23 07:15:15 GMT
    Missouri has executed an inmate convicted of killing a farming couple in 1993 as part of a plot to steal their cows.
    Missouri executed an inmate early Wednesday only a few miles from the farm where prosecutors say he orchestrated the 1993 killing of a couple whose cows he wanted to steal.
  • Most Popular

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Auctioned Bull Raises Money for Fellow Breeder

    Auctioned Bull Raises Money for Fellow Breeder

    Friday, April 11 2014 8:11 PM EDT2014-04-12 00:11:47 GMT
    Thousands of dollars were raised in a matter of seconds for a wounded rancher at the 5-L Red Angus Bull Auction in Sheridan Friday. A total of 300 bulls were sold in a matter of four hours, but one bull
    Thousands of dollars were raised in a matter of seconds for a wounded rancher at the 5-L Red Angus Bull Auction in Sheridan Friday.
  • Obama Visiting Oso Mudslide Tuesday

    Obama Visiting Oso Mudslide Tuesday

    Monday, April 21 2014 11:21 AM EDT2014-04-21 15:21:48 GMT
    OSO, Wash. (AP) - President Obama plans to visit the Oso mudslide Tuesday to meet with victim families and first responders one month after a hillside gave way and buried about three-dozen homes. Searchers continue to look through the debris for four missing people. >>>Sean Owsley and Matt Rogers are headed to Oso to bring you LIVE coverage starting tonight on KHQ Local News At 5 and 6pm>>>
    OSO, Wash. (AP) - President Obama plans to visit the Oso mudslide Tuesday to meet with victim families and first responders one month after a hillside gave way and buried about three-dozen homes. Searchers continue to look through the debris for four missing people. >>>Sean Owsley and Matt Rogers are headed to Oso to bring you LIVE coverage starting tonight on KHQ Local News At 5 and 6pm>>>
  • First American Wins Boston Marathon Since 1983; Ran With Names Of Victims On Bib

    First American Wins Boston Marathon Since 1983; Ran With Names Of Victims On Bib

    Monday, April 21 2014 2:38 PM EDT2014-04-21 18:38:14 GMT
    BOSTON (AP) - The winner of the Boston Marathon men's race had the names of last year's victims written in marker on the corners of his race bib. Meb Keflezighi (kehf-LEHZH'-gee), the first American to win the men's race since 1983, wore his official runner's bib with the names of the three people killed in last year's marathon.
    BOSTON (AP) - The winner of the Boston Marathon men's race had the names of last year's victims written in marker on the corners of his race bib. Meb Keflezighi (kehf-LEHZH'-gee), the first American to win the men's race since 1983, wore his official runner's bib with the names of the three people killed in last year's marathon.
  • Missoula Couple Named Foster Parents of the Year

    Missoula Couple Named Foster Parents of the Year

    Monday, April 21 2014 8:30 PM EDT2014-04-22 00:30:12 GMT
    A couple is honored for their efforts to prevent child abuse and neglect in Montana. Tyson and Kim Moore were named Foster Parents of the Year at the annual Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect Conference in Missoula. Experts said child abuse and neglect are a growing problem across the country. That's why experts are working to find new prevention methods and great foster parents like the Moores.
    A couple is honored for their efforts to prevent child abuse and neglect in Montana. Tyson and Kim Moore were named Foster Parents of the Year at the annual Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect Conference in Missoula. Experts said child abuse and neglect are a growing problem across the country. That's why experts are working to find new prevention methods and great foster parents like the Moores.
  • Murdoch's Four Corners Store Opening Thursday

    Murdoch's Four Corners Store Opening Thursday

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 12:04 AM EDT2014-04-22 04:04:20 GMT
    A popular farm and ranch store is opening a new location just outside Bozeman this week.
    A popular farm and ranch store is opening a new location just outside Bozeman this week.
  • Griz Softball Holds Tryouts For Enrolled Students

    Griz Softball Holds Tryouts For Enrolled Students

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 12:56 AM EDT2014-04-22 04:56:59 GMT
    The University of Montana softball team has their inaugural season start this fall. Today, the coaching staff started week long tryouts for current UM students hoping to make the team, which meant there was plenty of nervousness on the field."I've got a lot of nerves, but I'm extremely excited, I want to show him what I can do and hopefully have a shot at making the team," says Big Sky high graduate and current UM Junior Kelsey Lucostic.For as difficult as it may be, coach Pinkerton tries to ...
    The University of Montana softball team has their inaugural season start this fall. Today, the coaching staff started week long tryouts for current UM students hoping to make the team, which meant there was plenty of nervousness on the field."I've got a lot of nerves, but I'm extremely excited, I want to show him what I can do and hopefully have a shot at making the team," says Big Sky high graduate and current UM Junior Kelsey Lucostic.For as difficult as it may be, coach Pinkerton tries to ...
  • Washington Mudslide Death Toll Rises To 41

    Washington Mudslide Death Toll Rises To 41

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 9:54 AM EDT2014-04-22 13:54:39 GMT
    EVERETT, Wash. (AP) - The death toll from the mudslide that hit the Washington town of Oso has risen to 41. The Snohomish County medical examiner's office counted two more victims Monday, but said they have not yet been officially identified. >>>KHQ's Sean Owsley and Matt Rogers are in Oso for LIVE coverage from the devastated community as President Obama is expected to arrive Tuesday for a brief visit with families of the victims.>>>
    EVERETT, Wash. (AP) - The death toll from the mudslide that hit the Washington town of Oso has risen to 41. The Snohomish County medical examiner's office counted two more victims Monday, but said they have not yet been officially identified. >>>KHQ's Sean Owsley and Matt Rogers are in Oso for LIVE coverage from the devastated community as President Obama is expected to arrive Tuesday for a brief visit with families of the victims.>>>
  • President Obama Tours Mudslide Damage; Comforts Family

    President Obama Tours Mudslide Damage; Comforts Family

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 10:55 PM EDT2014-04-23 02:55:41 GMT
    KHQ - Stay tuned to KHQ.COM for the arrival of President Barack Obama in Everett, WA on Air Force 1 around 12:30pm Tuesday. President Obama plans to visit and survey the devastated community of Oso. Air Force 1 could arrive as early as 12:25 or as late as 12:50. >>>WATCH Right Here On Khq.com>>>
    KHQ.COM - The President has arrived in Washington State to visit and survey the devastated community of Oso. Air Force touched down in Everett shortly after 12:30 today. Obama will tour the area of Oso and visit with families who loved ones were killed in the devastating mudslide.
Powered by WorldNow

Features

  • More Features
  • Powered by WorldNow
    All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and Cowles Montana Media. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.